Page 4-Sunday, December 4, 1977-The Michigan Daily
punches in A2:
Ten who do
The Michigan Daily--Sunday, Dec
Banking on Roy Weber
FEW -BUSINESSMEN pack as
much wallop - economically,
politically or socially - as do Ann
The activities of the city's lending
institutions (that is, the banks, credit
unions and savings and loan com-
panies) reach deep into the life of
every Ann Arbor resident. To a great
extent, for instance, it's their respon-
sibility that a home here can cost as
much as three times its value
elsewhere, or that a permanent
shortage of rental housing has devel-
oped in the city - scarcity of living
space guarantees a good return on
Lending institutions also deter-
mine the flavor of the community:
the patterns of growth or decay, the
placement of residential neighbor-
hoods, apartment complexes, busi-
ness districts. Money is the lifeblood
of cities, and the banks provide it.
Of all the city's bankers, the most
well-connected and powerful is prob-
ably Roy Weber, president of Ann
Arbor Federal Savings (AAFS).
With assets of over $375 million,
AAFS is the community's most
prosperous lender. Although its main
activity is financing mortgages and
building loans for single-family hous-
ing (it supplies 30 per cent of the
mortgages in the city), the company
also sells title insurance and devel-
ops real estate through its subsidiary
companies, the Liberty Title Co. and
the 401 Service Corp. '
Weber was born in Ann Arbor in
1928 and attended Michigan State
University and the Indiana Univer-
sity Graduate School. He joined
AAFS in 1948, and in 1965 was made a
Like most corporate sovereigns,
Weber is reticent about discussing
his personal power. "I'm not a
powerful man on my own," he says.
"Not at all." Nevertheless, the power
is there - in a fascinatingarray of
Aside from his awesome punch as
head of Ann Arbor's most muscular
lending institution, he has developed
a number of other useful channels of
influence through community work.
For instance, he has served on the'
city Zoning and Building Boards of
Appeals, the Chamber of Commerce,
and the executive board of Ann
Arbor Tomorrow, the downtown
development organization. And he
has another ace up his sleeve, as
well: thousands of dollars in discre-
tionary funds which can be - and are
- used by AAFS as contributions to
community projects, campaigns and
What is all this power used for?
The answer is simple: to create a
climate in which business (and
especially the business of lending)
can be carried on happily and
"There are things we want to
encourage in this town, and things we
want to discourage," says Weber.
"And I don't mind bending a few ears
about it now and then."
Who runs the
U of M?
" HOEVER OCCUPIES my office," says University
President Robben Fleming, "will inevitably play a
large part in the life of the community."
That is a sublime pieceof understatement.
Both for better and for worse, the University and its
activities color every facet of Ann Arbor's existence as a city
-whether it be housing or transportation, politics or culture,
the price of drinks or the capacity of the municipal sewer
system. Completely surrounded by the city, the University
is yet an independent and sometimes hostile entity-and it
is ruled essentially by a single man.
Fleming's influence is felt far beyond the leafy confines
of Ann Arbor. He is a member of dozens of advisory com-
mittees, foundation directorates and corporate boards, and
his pronouncements often command the attention of a.
variety of high-level officials. Power, indeed, is Fleming's
forte, and he is a man adept in its use.
"I make the.general policy decisions around here," he
says. "But I don't get involved so much with the day-to-day
For "day-to-day things," Fleming relies on a pair of men
created in his own image: Vice President and Chief Finan-
cial Officer James Brinkerhoff and University Secretary
and Vice President for State Relations Richard Kennedy.
Like Fleming, they are members of a generation of hard-
nosed academic administrators called "men of low profile"
-men whose bland and urbane exteriors disguise iron deter-
mination and Machiavellian subtelty. They lose battles only
when they want to.
Born Dec. 18, 1916, in Paw Paw, Ill.,' Fleming took a BA
from Wisconsin's Beloit College, and earned his LL.B from
the University of Wisconsin in 1941. He carved his early
reputation as an expert in the field of industrial labor rela-
Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
Fleming:"I make the
decisions around here..
tions, and was chairman of the fed
break the 1962 dockworkers' strike o
He was named chancellor of the I
in 1964 and served there until 1967,
Michigan's president. For the past
the University through the stormiest
and emerged smelling strongly of ros
Fleming is well aware that his p
run contrary to community interes
community there are bound to be
university and the city," he says.
But the prospect of future disagr
him. The city, he is certain, needs tli
the University needs the city And
is the name of that tune.
bending a few
. . now
the man who
NOBODY IN TOWN is anywhere as rich as the
University--as of July, 1977, its assets totaled over
$942 million. And nobody-but nobody-has more direct
control over how it uses its money than the vice president
and chief financial officer, James Brinkerhoff.
Committees and departments may make their recom-
mendations-the Board of Regents may cast its votes of
approval or disapproval-but it is Brinkerhoff who makes
the day-to-day decisions. He decides whether to build a
new gym or cut a department's staff in half, whether to
provide new student housing or invest another million in-
IBM stock. And as the University continues to expand
and interact with the surrounding community, it is largely
Brinkerhoff who determines the pace and nature of that
Brinkerhoff, 54, has held his powerful post for less than
a year. Last January, he succeeded retiring financial
officer Wilbur Pierpont, who had controlled the Univer-
sity's pursestrings for a quarter century. But Brinker-
hoff is hardly the wide-eyed newcomer he sometimes
pretends to be. His roots in Ann Arbor go back a long
Born in Chicago in 1923, Brinkerhoff took his bachelor's
degree in business' administration at the University of
Toledo and moved to Ann Arbor, where he earned an
MBA in 1948.. From 1953 to 1962 he was an executive of
Sylvania Electric, and he served on the Ann Arbor City
Council from 1958 to 1960.
He joined the University in 1962 as director of plant
extension, and for the next decade distinguished himself
as the crafty Pierpont's star pupil. Those were the days of
tremendous expansion here, when most of the North Cam-
pus development took its present shape. Brinkerhoff was
at the center of the action, working closely with city
administrators in negotiating land transactions and-
In 1971, he took the job of Vice President for Finance,
Planning, and Operations at the University of Minnesota.
He remained there until last year, when he was called
back to assume his old mentor's post. There was no
break in continuity when Pierpont turned the job over to
Brinkerhoff-the dynasty remains intact.
The new financial officer is like many of the other
powerful men who have collected around University Pres-
ident Robben Fleming and who resemble him so closely
in outlook and manner. He betrays an amused contempt
when he talks about elected bodies like the City Council.
"The Council is always in transition, you've got to re-
member; they have a lack of continuity over the long
haul, much as students do. In order to do long-range
planning and allocation, you've got to have that con-
One can only surmise that much of the same holds true
with the Regents.
You can't keep Sy Murray do
L ET THERlE BE no mistake about
it. Even though he's weathering the
biggest crisis of his professional career
-an investment scandal in which the
city almost lost $1.4 million in question-
able financial transactions - Sy Mur-
ray is still firmly in the saddle. He still
runs the city of Ann Arbor, and shares
his power with no one.
To be sure, he's a little less cocky
these days and a little more given to
repeating phrases about how, as city
administrator, he's only the servant of
the mayor and the City Council. But
when Sy Murray snaps his fingers the
municipal machinery starts to move.
And that, after all, is what really
True, he is technically under the
authority of the city's elected officials.
But under the current city charter
Murray is given almost dictatorial
power over the governmental bu-
reaucracy, which this year employed
some 950 peopleiand operated on a
budget of $32 million.
An often abrupt, highly competent ad-
ministrator, sometimes extremely sen-
sitive to criticism, Murray was appoint-
ed to replace retiring city administrator
Guy Larcom in 1973 at the tender age of
32. Since then he has often had to run the
city with one hand, using the other to
fend off Mayor Albert Wheeler's tpeat-
ed attempts to siphon off some of his
"I will never fight publicly with this
mayor or any other mayor, and I will
never criticize him," says Murray.
"What's more, I don't allow anybody in
the bureaucracy under me to do either
of those things. But at the same time,"
he adds with a flash of determination, ''I
will be the city administrator."
Born in Miami
BA from Lincoln
vania and an MA
served as city
Murray has a ro
and efficiency am
shies away from
-he says, to avoi
interest. "It's alw
allow my subordi
how they run ti
says. "But I may
that policy, con
His position a
gives.him more in
official in Ann
business sector -
well beyond the w
even said in soi
But Murray s
hear such talk.
inherently are st
deep conflict aril
and myself, or ti
Daily tnoto by JUHN KOX
Brinkerh off: 'He decides
whether to build a new gym
or-cut a department's staff in
Daily Photo by ALAN BILINSKY
Murray:'. . still firmly in the saddle.'